This is 40? This is 40! This is 40.

this is 40This is 40?  This is 40!  This is 40.

I’ve been a lousy blogger lately.  I’ve been a lousy lots-of-stuff lately.  It isn’t because of laziness – most days I’ve been too busy to turn on my computer.  It isn’t due to lack of inspiration either – I’ve got material for now until year’s end.

It’s because of panic.

I’ve been cramming for a life exam that’s coming due in a few months.  And it feels like a pass/fail situation.  I’m not exactly sure what happens if I fail, but I picture something like this:

It’s because of twisted humor.

Yes, I’m the witch.  Ironically, I’m also the “good little girl” because this test was scheduled by a much younger version of me.  She had a few ideas in her pretty, little head about what I should have accomplished by my next birthday.  My chances of meeting her expectations are not low, they’re impossible; and these last few months I’ve been rushing to get as close as I can, as fast as I can.  “Oh, what a world!  What a world!”  This is 40?

Dorothy

Let’s see . . . star as Dorothy on Broadway. That should be easy. Um, have four children by 40 . . . What else? Be in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Piece of cake. . . .

It’s because of sadness.

I joke now, but I’ve been doing a lot more crying than laughing about it.  In a recent journal entry, I called it “not just a birthday, but a death-day too.”  Whose death?  A version of myself that I thought would be, but isn’t.  This can’t be 40!

I’ve been grieving for the dreams I thought would be by now, but aren’t.  I’ve been grieving for all the hard I thought would get easier, but hasn’t.  I’ve been grieving for the distance . . . between me, and the me of my youth . . . between me, and the me I’d like to be.

It’s because of fear.

The time I haven’t spent grieving or frantically trying to cross accomplishments off the proverbial list, I’ve worried.  Once I stopped grieving, would I also stop trying to bridge the distance?  What if another year goes by, and I’m still not a mother, still not the songwriter I want to be, still not my desired weight, still not earning the money I’d like, still living with a leaky roof and wonky walls, still puzzled by pronouns, still not able to do the splits?

What if?  Dot-dot-dot.

It’s because of hope.

Yes, what if?  I looked at the prospect of spending the last few months of my 30’s panicking, crying, and worrying, and it seemed wasteful.  This shouldn’t be 40.

Uncharacteristically positive what-ifs popped into my much more mature, little head.  What if the day after The Day, I wake up to discover that I haven’t melted at all?  What if it isn’t the sizzling of green flesh that I hear the morning after, but the ideophone of an entrance into a sparkling Emerald City?  Bling-blingThis could be 40.

What if I close the gaps to my past and my future one yellow brick at a time, one kind thought at a time by celebrating the me I once was, and the me I look forward to becoming?

It’s because of acceptance . . . eventually.

I’m glad I allowed myself to be a lousy blogger, and tend to the wounds that come from falling between life’s tectonic plates.  And after spending some time there, I’ve decided that this is 40.  It is a yellow patch in the road that connects all that I might have been, and all that I might yet be, with all that I am.

this is 40– Anita, Noted in Nashville

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12 thoughts on “This is 40? This is 40! This is 40.

  1. Happy birthday Anita! I’m two years shy of forty and I absolutely understand how you feel! You’re such a sweet loving soul, and I wish you success in all you do!!
    Blessings. 🙂

  2. As someone who survived turning 40, I can assure you, you won’t melt. At least I don’t think I did. But although turning 40 didn’t bother me so much, I think turning 50 will, and the milestone is closer than I’d like to think. But as my step-dad always says, it’s better than the alternative. Simple words and yet they’ve given me great perspective.

    Happy Birthday! Revel in your accomplishments! I’m sure they are many. 🙂

    • It’s funny how some numbers disturb us more than others. 30 didn’t bother me a bit. 35, however, left me in a pool of tears and snot on my couch. Weird.

      Thank you for the encouragement. Based on what I’ve seen from you, my 40’s are going to be awesome! (By the way, I’m sure you hear this a lot, but you don’t look anywhere NEAR 50!) 🙂

  3. Happy I turned on my blog long enough to catch this, Anita! It was EXACTLY what I needed to read! When is your birthday? I turn forty next August (although I normally refer to it as FOOOOOOORTY) and the only goal I have in mind is having my credit card debt paid by then! Hahaha. (With the hopes, of course, that it will bring along a new sense of freedom to pursue a more meaningful path…) I love that you ended up on an optimistic idea of what forty is. I mean, what fun would it be if we were already everything we hoped we’d be? All that’d be left is death. From one “lousy blogger” to another, xoxo. This is FORTY! 🙂

    • December is when I turn foooooorty. 🙂 I feel like I’m in great company – the lousy blogger thing and the 40 thing. First of all, you’re a great blogger. Second of all, you do not look 40 (or 39)!

      I promise to do my best to make this transition a good one, and report back to you that the water is fine. 🙂

      It’s always so great to hear from you!

    • That’s great to know. Before I was 30, I was told that the 30’s are the best years of your life, and that the 40’s are good too – just not as good. That’s always stuck in my head. I actually am beginning to look forward to it. 🙂

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